Sometimes theists will try to goad and taunt atheists into an argument, because that’s what you have to do when you haven’t actually got a good argument. But this one, which came in a personal email to Beth Presswood, is just all kinds of hilarious.
I feel like getting into a debate with you guys, but the problem is that I have access to scholarly philosophical arguments from William Lane Craig and you guys have popular arguments from Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris, so you guys aren’t going to understand proper logic. You’ll make a fallacious statement without knowing it. I’m not really sure what to talk about, but could you give me a topic and we can discuss something? I’m not trying to insult you or anything, it’s just on your show, you use popular internet atheist arguments that are simply unsophisticated and unscholarly. But let’s talk about something.
Your friend in reason,
Anyway, it’s Russell and Jeff on today’s show. See you then.
Anthony has written back, and I’ve responded in detail after the jump.
I don’t really know what to tell you at this point because at any professional institution, the existence of the historical Jesus of Nazareth is so certain that they don’t even bother debating it.
I don’t think any legitimate scholar would claim that degree of certainty, but I’ve always found debate over whether there was a historical Jesus to be something of a red herring. Even if a real person existed to inspire the character in the Gospels, there is little to nothing definite we can say about his actual life that we can reliably separate from myth. And having evidence of a historical Jesus would still provide no evidence of any of the Bible’s supernatural and divine claims, no evidence of his miracles, or his resurrection, or of the dozens of revived zombie saints who rose from their graves and entered Jerusalem following his resurrection (as per Matthew 27:52-53 — I’d be very interested to know which “professional institutions” take seriously the certainty of that occurrence, as I’d expect quite a lot of historical sources would have written about something so remarkable).
The real question is, who was the historical Jesus? By the way, I want to give you guys an example of how I get my arguments for the existence of God from a scholarly source,
You mean William Lane Craig’s website.
but it seems that you just get your argument’s against God’s existence from popular internet sites and so forth.
Right. Because William Lane Craig’s website is not a popular internet site.
Richard Dawkins is not a pilosopher. He’s a scientist, and when he makes philosophical claims about the existence of God, he is only a lay-person, not a professional. I’m a scholar, and I am being trained in philosophy.
So you’re using yourself as the subject of an argument from authority fallacy. Cute.
If your point is that only “scholarly” “philosophers” have any business giving an opinion on the validity of Christian teachings, then it seems (since you’re such an expert on logic and all) that the necessary conclusion to draw is that if no atheist who lacks such credentials can have a valid opinion against Christianity, then no theist who lacks such credentials can have a valid opinion in favor of it. Which means that over 99% of Christians who went to church and sat in the pews this morning lack the necessary scholarly, philosophical training to have valid reasons for their beliefs.
But if Christianity is a belief system that can only be comprehended and rationally defended or refuted by those with such credentials, then the entire belief system is irrelevant to common people. But I don’t think you want to go there. What you ought to be willing to agree with is this: to whatever degree philosophers are able to glean so-called brilliant insights into Christianity, the core tenets of the belief ought to be comprehensible to the average person if Christianity wishes to have any followers. And since Christianity is entrenched in Western culture, I’d say the churches have done their best to pursue that goal?
So why are Christians without “scholarly” “philosophical” educations perfectly validated in their choice to believe, but atheists without such a background lack any valid basis for making refutations?
Here is a scholarly article by William Lane Craig who is a professional philosopher and scholar: Theistic critiques of Atheism
This may surprise you, but we’re well aware of who Craig is and what his arguments are (Kalam, etc.), and they aren’t especially impressive. He is a brilliant public speaker, and his rhetoric is impeccable. But that’s about the best you can say about him. In any case, you keep using this word “scholarly,” and I don’t think it means what you think it means.
I’ll be happy to smash the article you link to if you really want me to, as long as you don’t mind if I do it over the span of a few days. My work schedule is tight right now and it will take time to respond properly.
This is why it’s hard to debate with the Atheist Experience personalities, they are not trained to understand proper logic.
And you know this how, o logical one who used a logical fallacy in an earlier paragraph? And even if it were true, as I said, 99+ % of church-going Christians are not properly trained in logic. Are you going to tell them their reasons for belief are invalid as well?
As far as I know, none of them have any degree in philosophy, but I could be wrong. If I am, please correct me. Thanks!
99+ % of church-going Christians do not have degrees in philosophy. Are you going to tell them their reasons for belief are invalid as well?
So please stop with the whole “waving your CV’s around” thing. All it is is a passive-aggressive attempt to deal from the bottom of the deck so that the discussion will lean in your favor regardless of whatever arguments are presented by either of us. And it makes me think you’re writing us not out of an honest interest in dialogue, but out of an emotional and intellectually dishonest need to stroke your ego. If I’m wrong, though, please correct me!
The thinking, and Rational Christian
Can I offer a final note of advice? Rationality and logic are like a really great sex life. The more you need to brag about it, the less likely it is you’ve actually got it.
So, yeah…the dirp is strong with this one.